Sportsnet’s Fox suggests that the Wings should buy out Justin Abdelkader

The Detroit Red Wings will have ample cap space with which to work during the 2020 offseason, but there are a couple of players who’ve become a drag on the team’s salary structure in one Frans Nielsen (signed for 2 more years at a $5.25 million cap hit) and Justin Abdelkader (signed for 3 more years at a $4.25 million cap hit).

Per CapFriendly, the Red Wings would have to pay Nielsen 1/3rd of his salary over twice the length of his contract, which translates to a cap hit that ranges between $666K and $4.4 million for four years (per CapFriendly’s buyout calculator), while buying out Abdelkader would translate to a cap hit between $1.8 and 2.3 million for the next six years.

All of that being said, given that the salary cap will remain flat for the next two seasons (at least), Sportsnet’s Luke Fox believes that the Wings should swallow hard and buy out Abdelkader:

Justin Abdelkader, three years at a $4.25-million cap hit

Because the rebuilding Red Wings are in no rush to spend to the cap and assemble an immediate contender, and because they’ll also have a bunch of expensive contracts coming off the books this summer (Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley), they can still absorb overpaid veterans like Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen (two more years at a $5.25-million hit) with ease.

Here’s the question: Does Steve Yzerman still want a 36-year-old Abdelkader taking up cap space in 2023? Or is it worth keeping some good pros around to groom the next wave?

It’s easy to look at Abdelkader’s 2019-20 numbers — zero goals, three assists, minus-14 rating — and start dreading another three declining years of overpaying a depth winger.

There could be sentiment at play here, with Abdelkader being a loyal, career-long Wing and a respected leader.

But remember this: Yzerman once bought out local hero Vincent Lecavalier when he served as Tampa’s GM.

A more modest but effective move might be buying out veteran Darren Helm, who is due $3.85 million for one more year.

Continued with a list of possible buyout candidates from around the league.

I wouldn’t buy out Abdelkader this year, but I might pull the Daniel Cleary treatment and send him to Grand Rapids if he doesn’t perform up to par at the NHL level.

Nielsen wants to stick around for at least one more year, and I at least feel that Darren Helm is still a useful player.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

3 thoughts on “Sportsnet’s Fox suggests that the Wings should buy out Justin Abdelkader”

  1. *sigh* Yeah, what to do about Abdelkader? Hopefully he puts forth a better season. If not, then possibly a buyout next year? …but to be honest, I don’t know why you would buy out any of these guys. Sure, Helm might not be as fleet of foot as he used to be, but his cap hit is pretty reasonable and depending on where he slots into the lineup his tradability may open up for the next trade deadline. Some team looking for a bit of speed and veteran presence could do worse than taking on Helm.
    If Nielsen does have a better season, and he seems to be gearing up for one, he’s another player that could be used in a trade later in the year.

  2. From a cap perspective, waiting a year is actually much better. More savings, less term. Since the wings aren’t going to be competitive this year anyway, I think keeping Abbey on the roster as a 14th forward isn’t a huge deal.

  3. My Personal opinion is to see him gone. Realistically, keep him for this year only if he is not taking up a roster spot of a player that should be with the Wings. Aby is not worthy of a roster spot with any team. Maybe give Holland a call, LOL.
    I watched Helm in the WHL, Speed Speed, and he actually played better , defensively and PK , in his new role with the Wings. No problems with Helm.

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